Are you searching for the best camping sleeping pad for side sleepers? If so, you’re in right place. This one is best for side sleepers because it is comfortable, lightweight, and durable. You can check its price on Amazon.
Why a good sleeping pad matter in camping? Yes for sure, you can sleep without a sleeping pad but a good sleeping pad provides a better, warm, and comfortable area for a relaxed, comfortable, and sound sleep It doesn’t matter whether you’re pairing it with a sleeping bag, camp cot, or just sleeping without pairing, a good sleeping pad will never regret you.
Best camping sleeping pad for side sleepers (2021 List):
|Model||Best for Whom?||Weight||Thickness||R-Value||Side Sleeping||Price|
|Exped MegaMat Lite 12||Overall Best for Both Backpacking & Car Camping||0.33 lbs||4.7 inches||5.2||Best Choice||Check on Amazon|
|Big Agnes Air Core Ultra||Best for 3 season campers||1.31 lbs||4.5 inches||4.5||Best Choice||Check on Amazon|
|Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Insulated||Runner Up in 3 Season Camping||1.08 lbs||4 inches||3.2||Comfortable Enough||Check on Amazon|
|TETON Sports Adventurer Camp Pad||Work good with camping cots and sleeping bags
(Made for Car camping)
|4.25 lbs||2 inches||5.5||Just Ok||Check on Amazon|
|Sleepingo Sleeping Pad||Budget Option (Best packable Option for summer
beacause it will packed down to the size of a water bottle)
|0.9 lbs||2 inches||2.1||Not at all||Check on Amazon|
How to choose the best sleeping pad for a side sleeper: A buyer’s guide
Types of sleeping pads
Closed-cell foam pads
Closed-cell foam provides more insulation than open-cell foams and can provide support to the structure due to the composition of their cells. Closed-cell foams are known to protect from water damage and generally these types of sleeping pads provide a higher R-value per inch than open-cell foams.
They are cheap, durable, and light in weight but not compact in size. Please don’t go for memory foam because they’re toxic in nature and can affect your health (Google for more info)
These types of pads are better for side sleepers in terms of comfort because they completely rely on air for inflation thus they’re thicker than foam to provide softer sound sleep. Perhaps air pads take time to inflate which you can do manually or with the help of an air pump. They’re extremely comfortable, light in weight, and have better packability as compared to other types.
But they lack in durability because they can be easily punctured if they’re made of cheap materials. Some air pads are too bouncy, noisy when you change your sleep direction which can be annoying for many. Also, air pads tend to cost more.
These are the most convenient choices for anyone. All you need to do is unfold them and open their inflation valves to let them inflate by sucking air. They have open cell foam for insulation (some foams are toxic in nature so research well before buying).
Excellent insulation, compactness, packability, durability, and adjustability are the main benefits of self-inflating pads. But these take time to deflate and are quite bulky so backpackers may need to figure out something to such bulk with them.
Sleeping pads come in two main sizes – 1 person sleeping pad and multiple people sleeping pad (Two-person and queen size is to find). If you’re camping with a partner or friends then a big-sized pad can cut much weight but make sure that it is portable and fits with your tent dimensions.
In simple words. The more comfortable the pad is, the heavier and thicker it will be. If you’re a backpacker reading this then you should buy a sleeping pad weighing under a pound. If you’re a car camper then you can buy a sleeping pad that weighs between 5-10 lbs (Number can vary according to your car or SUV strength and size).
Sleeping bags come in two shapes – one is mummy shape which is tapered to feet. Mummy sleeping pads are very lightweight by shaving extra space. Such sleeping pads are best for back sleepers. Another is a rectangular shaped sleeping pad which gives more space to side sleepers to roll around and supports their position.
But it does not mean that mummy bags aren’t good for side sleepers; many mummy-style pads have proven themselves to be great for side sleepers.
This is the most important thing you should see before buying a sleeping pad. The most common insulation provider materials are foams. But be sure enough that these foams or any other material used in a sleeping pad are not toxic in nature. It’s my duty to recommend products that do not harm you. That’s why all the sleeping pads that I mentioned in this article will not affect your health.
I can’t promise this because I haven’t used any sleeping pads but I researched very deeply so if the manufacturers are giving true information to me (Via their website and third party) then the sleeping pads will support your health.
Note: Some polyesters are very toxic, memory foams, PVC, polyurethane (PU) are very toxic, and many more. You should google the material used before buying anything.
The thicker the pad is the more comfortable and heavier or bulkier it will be. You should buy a pad according to the thickness you need. 2.5-4 inches thick sleeping pad is enough for side sleeping campers.
You should not underestimate r-value because it will decide whether you’ll remain toasty in winter or snow or if you buy a wrong R-value pad for summer then you’ll complain to the company that your pad is heating me like I’m a chicken.
Recommended sleeping pad R-values:
- For summer campers or backpackers: 1 to 3
- For 3 season campers: 3 to 5
- For winter camping in snow: 5+
Bacterial growth prevention
If you already have some experience with sleeping pads then you might know that there’s a chance of mold and bacterial buildup. Thank god, nowadays some pads have a system to prevent such growth but whether your sleeping pad has this system or not it is always better to treat it with care.
5 Best Camping Sleeping Pads for Side Sleepers
Exped MegaMat Lite 12 – Overall Best for Side sleepers
- Type: Self-Inflating
- Size: Available in 3 sizes (Medium Wide, Large WIde, Large x-Wide)
- Weight: 0.33 lbs
- Shape: Rectangular
- Material: Polyester and TPU Polyether film laminate (Yes I told you that polyester is toxic but the pad is certified by Oeko-Tex 100 that’s why I am assuming that It’s not harmful)
- Thickness: 4.7 inch
- R-value: 5.2
This is one of the thickest pads from this list. When we talk about its comfortability than trust me I haven’t found a more comfortable sleeping pad under 0.5 lbs. This is a complete solution for side sleepers on backpacking and car camping trips.
However, it’s not made for camping in the summer season but you will remain toasty hot to the temperature down to -4F. Just unfold it and open its inflation valves to inflate automatically (takes 1-2 hours for 90% inflation) or use its air pump to do this quicker.
- Large deflation valves
- Comes with Schnozzel Pump bag
- Very very comfy
- No repair kit included for punctures (Thankfully you’ll never need one)
Big Agnes Air Core Ultra – Best 3 Season Sleeping pad for Side Sleepers
- Type: Self-inflating
- Size: Available in five sizes (Petite, Regular, Wide Regular, Wide Long, and Double Wide)
- Weight: 1.31 lbs
- Packed size: Regular (20” x 72”) will turn into 4” x 8”
- Shape: Rectangular
- Material: Nylon and THERMOLITE
- Thickness: 3.25 inches
Here goes another great sleeping pad for side sleepers. Big Agnes is known to make comfy sleeping pads and this is one of the best from them. Air core ultra is lightweight, durable, and worth the money you’re going to pay.
However, it is not as thick and comfortable as Lite 12. Let me think, yes it is noisy which is not a con of Big Agnes because according to my research noise will increase with the increase in r-value. Overall good for 3 season backpacking and camping.
Couples can attach 2 similar size pads with each other using a pad coupler. If you’re really looking for a duo sleeping pad then it’s my advice to look for 2 person sleeping pads to save some money and extra weight.
- Easy to inflate
- Packs easily
- Produces noise
- Little slippery
- Type: Self-Inflating
- Size: Available in two sizes (Regular, and Women’s Regular)
- Weight: 1.08 lbs:
- Shape: Mummy
- Material: Nylon with anti-microbial liquid-extruded TPU lamination
- Thickness: 4 inches
- R-value: 3.2
Ether light XT insulated sleeping pad is no doubt very comfortable and warm enough for 3 season camping trips. What makes it stand out among other side sleeper pads is its “Pillow lock system” that keeps your pillow in place and has a sufficiently large deflation valve for easy and quick deflation.
It is thick enough to give you a nice cushy experience. But it does have some downsides like it is a little expensive, a tad noisy as you change your position in the night (like other pads), bit heavier and bulkier than the leading lightweight backpacking pads.
That being said, when comfort and durability are your main priority then this sleeping pad will not regret making you feel like you’re sleeping in your bed. If you do camping only in summer then its non-insulated version will work fine for you
- Incredibly comfortable
- Relatively warm
- Pillow lock system
- Pump sack included
- Easy & quick deflation
- Slight rubbery feel
- A tad bulkier
- Make sound
TETON Sports Adventurer Camp Pad – Made for Car Camping
- Type: Foam pad
- Size: Available in 3 sizes (Adventurer, Universal, and Outfitter)
- Weight: 4.25 lbs
- Shape: Rectangular
- Material: 300D Brushed Canvas
- Thickness: 2-inch thick open-cell foam
- R-value: 5.5
In my point of view, you may not want to sleep in this sleeping pad without a sleeping bag or camping cots. I am not saying it is not comfortable but I am saying it is made of canvas and has 2-inch thick foam so it is way better to sleep in a sleeping bag using this pad as an extra layer of insulation and comfort.
This sleeping pad is very large and bulky so it takes a long time to completely expand once it’s rolled out. By the way, I am not disappointed but I expect a little more with this cot under this price and obviously, it’s for car campers but not for backpackers.
- Good to use with camping cots
- Included compression straps
- Warm enough for the winter season
- Not that thick to give highest comfort to side sleepers
Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad -Budget Option
- Type: Self-inflating
- Size: Large
- Weight: 0.9 lbs
- Shape: Rectangular
- Material: Ripstop tear-resistant nylon
- Thickness: 2 inches
The most lightweight sleeping pad for side sleepers on this list. However, it is not best for side sleeping because it is too thin at the bottom but if you’re under budget and want a sleeping pad that is ultralight and can give OK comfort for side sleeping then this is going to be the last stop for you.
With this price, you have to inflate it through your mouth which I don’t think is an issue because it will inflate in about 16 breaths. The sleeping pad is so compact and packable that after deflation it can be packed in the size of a water bottle.
Not only good for backpackers but also the best compact and packable sleeping pad for motorcycle campers.
- can be packed down to the size of a water bottle
- Easy inflation and easy to deflate
- Cheap in price
- Absolutely worth every penny (In comparison to the quality it is providing at this price)
- Not comfortable enough for side sleepers
So you reached to end. From the above list that I have created after doing deep research, the Exped Megamat lite 12 is best because it is 4.7 inches thick and weighs under 0.4 lbs and it is best for winter and snow only. If you’re looking for a 3 season sleeping pad then Big Agnes Air Core Ultra will be best for side sleeping. If you’re looking for a summer sleeping pad then Sleepingo camping sleeping pad is good but not much comfortable for side sleeping.